How much do you pay for your solus distribution?


The imminent April 6.6% increase in the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour and a recent client discussion about team solus rates, re-kindled memories of one of our most read blogs:

Are you paying a solus rate per thousand to your final supplier/s which facilitates distributors being paid the NLW? (Click here to read)

The client discussion centred around why our quotation for a solus drop was so much higher than other quotes they had sourced.

Distribution area rates are effectively linked to distributor daily output and will vary considerably by area.

Output will be higher in urban areas than rural areas – think terraced housing with no front gardens and letterboxes accessible from the pavement, in comparison to leafy suburbs and pathways up to the front doors.

Both areas should seek to remunerate their distributors to the same level, so rural areas will be charged at a higher rate, because distributor output will be lower.

In the client conversation, they accepted that in principle, but countered by repeating other suppliers were still far cheaper and asked why?

Three possible explanations.

1. Will your item really be dropped on its own, or will the supplier distribute other items alongside yours thus sharing the true final mile delivery cost?

If you are promised shares in all postal sectors and are happy with that, ensure there are no competing items in the mix!

Be a little wary of a supplier who at the drop of a hat, can offer you shared distribution in every postal sector you wish to cover, in the week/s YOU require the distribution to take place.

It’s not impossible they have items to match your booking, but the further in advance you look to drop, its possibly less likely that the supplier postal sector jigsaw immediately comes together?

2. What level of household coverage is your other supplier promising?

Don’t just compare the total charges, look at the distribution volumes. Some solus suppliers have clauses in their T & C’s which limit the extent of coverage they guarantee; we know of one at just 85% of postal sectors.

Just how important may that missing 15% be to the success of your campaign and can they identify where the 15% is to you in advance of distribution?

In the client scenario, I never did receive an answer to the question about whether the quotations being compared were for very similar volumes?

3. And of course, in the worst case scenario, even if will the full quantity of households is in the distribution plan, will they all land on doormats?

I’m not on a crusade to destroy team companies’ credibility, quite the opposite. I’m encouraging clients to think more carefully about how and why they choose their service partners. In the longer term there is a benefit to having trusted suppliers and clients asking the right questions from the outset will benefit in the long run.

Nationwide team companies provide TLC with services we ultimately are responsible for in the client’s eyes. Accordingly, we are very wary of the cheap and cheerful image some companies can portray.

But also bear in mind that door drop never has and never will be a perfect science.  Same day doorstep research and subsequent staggered checking never produces 100% recall on 100% distribution (happy to share the results with you).

But the message in this blog to to clients is if sourcing solus suppliers direct, when comparing quotations, think about the points made above.

Talk to multiple suppliers. Perhaps even consider split tests between suppliers, which may also allow you to gauge the difference between shared and solus distribution?

Or simply speak to the UK’s only truly independent and impartial source of door drop buying services, rather than the media owners. You could even do both and compare the opinions!

Graham Dodd, CEO